Legal Recreational Weed Could Soon Be Reality in Oregon

By McCarton Ackerman 06/18/14

The Beaver State could soon follow Colorado and Washington.

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With recreational marijuana use already legal in Colorado and Washington, could Oregon soon be next?

New Approach Oregon, the creators of the Oregon Marijuana Initiative, are seeking to make marijuana legal for adults 21 and over. The initiative would allow for the personal possession of up to eight ounces and the cultivation of up to four plants. Marijuana would then be taxed at $35 an ounce and $5 per plant. The Oregon Liquor Commission would then oversee and regulate marijuana in the same way they do with alcohol.

More than 83,500 supporters have already given their signatures, making the initiative well on course to collect the 87,213 signatures by July 3 that are needed to make it part of the ballot for November. And while the initiative failed to make the ballot in November 2012, there is greater funding behind the push for legal marijuana this time. New Approach has spent more than $620,000 on making the initiative a reality, while major donors from across the country have opened up their wallets, including $150,000 from New York-based Drug Policy Action and even a sizable donation from the wife of one of Facebook’s co-founders, Cari Tuna.

Although Oregonians are proposing a tax that is less than the 25% approved by Washington, they intend to use that tax to better the city. Approximately 40% would go towards school funding, while 35% would be allotted for local and state police. The remaining 25% would go towards drug prevention campaigns and mental health treatment.

Of course, there will likely be a significant amount of revenue being allotted for those projects if the success of legal marijuana in Colorado is any indication. The state raked in $2 million from pot tax sales last January and is expected to collect $40 million by the end of 2014.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.